One of the Kansas City-area’s highest impact entrepreneurship support organizations is expanding across the Sunflower State as it becomes a board-certified program of NetWork Kansas.
Entrepreneur Business Basics (EBB) will soon reach into 66 counties in Kansas, Kira Cheree, founder, told Startland News, highlighting ways the expansion will directly impact minority-owned businesses.
“For every innovator, dreamer, entrepreneur or otherwise I challenge you to think high,” Cheree said, reflecting on more than a decade of work to create equity in entrepreneurship and make necessary resources widely and readily available to Black entrepreneurs and entrepreneurs of color.
Click here to learn more about Entrepreneur Business Basics.
“To be transparent, [this opportunity is] very humbling. It may sound kind of cliche, but it is truly a manifestation of my business vision and dream. Entrepreneurship can be a lonely journey, but I’ve had a lot of support and guidance,” she continued, thanking her mentor, Dr. Latoria Chinn, government compliance officer at the International Speedway Corporation, who’s guidance helped inspire EBB.
“I stand on her shoulders and I pray that one day others can stand on mine. … This partnership pushes EBB into rapid growth.”
Such a designation makes EBB eligible for grant funding through Network Kansas’ Entrepreneurship Communities [E-Communities] Partnership. Funds would cover registration costs for program participants and facilitator fees, Network Kansas said.
Statewide 12-week cohorts are expected to launch in early 2022, Cheree said, noting a summer expansion into Topeka and Manhattan paved the way for EBB and NetWork Kansas to join forces.
“We caught the attention of [NetWork Kansas] E-Community leader, Jenn Laird [during] our Topeka cohort graduation,” she said. “She noticed a need in urban and rural Kansas to support minority entrepreneurs with quality training and pitched the idea of adding EBB to [NetWork Kansas’] board certified programs.”
The organization was immediately interested, Cheree said.
“Being able to serve entrepreneurs in 66 different counties across the state of Kansas will open doors for those communities to grow small businesses that can launch and sustain. The greatest door it opens to us is the opportunity to serve and impact minority entrepreneurs.”
Additional board certified programs include:
- Fab Lab ICC Maker Space Boot Camp
- ELI’s Ice House Entrepreneurship Program
- Wichita State University’s Growing Rural Business Program
- The Schallert Group’s Destination Business Boot Camp Program
- NetWork Kansas’ Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge (YEC) Series
Further reflecting on the opportunity to grow the program, Cheree called it an example in action of what she teaches budding entrepreneurs: Always be prepared.
“There is no substitute for preparation. Entrepreneurs must be prepared to expand — even if there is no expansion,” she said, adding the state of Kansas is filled with entrepreneurship support advocates who understand the sky isn’t the limit.
“Think high, think far, think wide. We are not climbing a ladder to success, we are walking on a path. Never stop walking because you never know how far your vision or dream can go,” Cheree added.
“Someone somewhere is waiting on your vision.”
The 13th cohort of EBB’s Kansas City-based program will culminate with a graduation ceremony Nov. 30 at Fresh Factory KC — owned by program alumni India Wells-Carter. Click here to learn more about upcoming events or cohort registration.
This story is possible thanks to support from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, a private, nonpartisan foundation that works together with communities in education and entrepreneurship to create uncommon solutions and empower people to shape their futures and be successful.